In a bid to swiftly detect and locate aircraft and men in distress, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to install modern search and rescue (SAR) equipment on hundreds of its transport planes and choppers, reports Hindustan Times.
According to the report, the development comes weeks after 13 men were killed in an An-32 crash in Arunachal Pradesh on 3 June. The wreckage of the An-32 was found eight days later as the emergency beacon on board the aircraft failed to alert SAR crews.
The new comprehensive SAR package is being provided by the Israeli defence electronics company Elbit Systems, with which the IAF had signed a $45 million deal two years ago.
The plan involves fitting emergency locator transmitters (ELT) and airborne locator systems on various kinds of flying machines of IAF such as Dornier planes, Avro aircraft, Mi-25 and Mi-35 helicopter gunships, Mi-17 choppers and Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
“Currently, these platforms are equipped with rudimentary SAR systems. The new gear will equip them with excellent SAR capability. The process of fitting the systems on the planes will begin soon,” a senior official was quoted in the report as saying.
Besides ELT and ALS, the Israeli defence company will also supply personal rescue beacons (PRB) to the IAF. A PRB is a safety device carried by fighter pilots in their emergency vests to alert SAR teams in the event of an ejection or a crash.
The IAF has signed a deal for around 350 ELT, 160 ALS and above 4,300 PRB with Israel, informed a second official, as reported by HT.
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